Teacher Awareness of School Bullying in Bangladesh: A Review and Intervention

Author: Most. Aeysha Sultana

Sultana, Most. Aeysha, 2016 Teacher Awareness of School Bullying in Bangladesh: A Review and Intervention , Flinders University, School of Health Sciences

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School bullying has drawn the attention of mass media and some professionals in

Bangladesh. However, no school bullying policies or curricula have yet been introduced for

teachers and students. Further, no anti-bullying program has been tested in Bangladesh. The

aim of the present research was to identify an anti-bullying program feasible for introduction

in the Bangladesh context and assess its effectiveness.

The present research was conducted using a mixed methods approach, with both qualitative

and quantitative data collected. There were two phases. Study 1assessed the feasibility of

introducing an anti-bullying program (or program components) in Bangladesh. Qualitative

data were collected from 34 school Principals (or Head Teachers in the Bangladesh context)

randomly selected from schools in Dhaka city, Bangladesh. An in-depth-interview technique

was used. Head Teachers were sourced from government primary schools (8), nongovernment

primary schools (8), government secondary schools (10) and non-government

secondary schools (8). Findings of this initial study revealed teachers’ lack of understanding

of bullying, favourable attitudes toward bullying (as normal behaviour), an unwillingness to

deal with the problem, and a repertoire of actions to deal with bullying identical to those used

with other unacceptable single acts (e.g., fighting, disputing). Primary school Head Teachers

showed more favourable attitudes towards bullying as they considered bullying to be a part of

normal development for younger children). The further value of Study 1 was the

recommendation of some program components, and the identification of possible resources

for, and barriers against, implementing an anti-bullying intervention.

Study 2 sought to assess the impact of a bullying awareness program among primary school

teachers in Dhaka city, Bangladesh. A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) design was used,

with 112 primary school teachers (53 from 3 primary schools in the control group and 59

from 3 primary schools in the intervention group), aged between 22 and 63 years. The

bullying awareness program contained four sessions of two hours introduced over a fourweek

period. Delivery methods used were discussion, storytelling and picture presentations.

Outcome variables were knowledge of bullying, anti-bullying attitudes, intentions to deal

with bullying, intention to implement a central bullying policy, and potential actions against

bullying. Data were collected using self-report questionnaires at pre-test (one week prior to

the program), post-test (one week after the program), and follow-up (four months later).

Evaluation of the program and its implementation was also undertaken using the intervention

group at follow-up.

There were mixed results for program effectiveness. The number of teachers who defined

bullying in terms of appropriate characteristics (more power of bully than victim, bully’s

intention to harm victim, and bullying as repeat offending) and intentions to deal with

bullying, were significantly increased in the intervention group compared with the control

group, both from pre-test to post-test and at follow-up. The program’s impact on other

outcome variables was not significant. Program evaluation revealed that the chosen materials

were easy to understand and perceived as important for enhancing bullying awareness. The

program provider, delivery method, and number and duration of sessions were also seen to be

efficient and appropriate. Results of the research were discussed in terms of implications for

future practice and research.

Keywords: school bullying, teacher awareness, Bangladesh

Subject: Health Sciences thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2016
School: School of Health Sciences
Supervisor: Paul Ward